About healthy living
In recent years, schools have hit the headlines when celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have spoken out in favour of more nutritious school meals for children. With this rising awareness, we’ve also seen a growing interest in the health and wellbeing of school pupils.
This interest has grown into an emotive issue – with the current generation of children being the first predicted in history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.
The state of our health is not only related to our diet but a healthy child also has a higher chance of long-term physical wellbeing. A good sense of physical wellbeing can give a child confidence, general happiness and a positive outlook on life.
Did you know?
The NHS study ‘Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet: England, 2010’ shows:
17% of boys and 15% of girls (aged 2-15) are classed as obese – this figure has increased 11% and 12% respectively since 1995
Only 1 in 5 children aged 5-15 consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day
Boys aged 2 to 15 are more likely than girls to meet recommended levels of physical activity
The NHS study ‘Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2009’ shows:
While less than 1% of 11 and 12-year-old children smoke, by the age of 15 years, 15% of children in England report being regular smokers
6% of children aged 11-15 years smoke at least one cigarette each week: 7% of girls and 5% of boys
16% of 15-year-old girls are regular smokers compared to 14% of boys
The NSPCC Child Protection Awareness and Diversity Department study, December 2007 shows:
31% of children have experienced bullying by their peers during childhood
Healthy living and schools
Children spend a vast amount of their time at school and so need to be schooled in a healthy environment to promote their own health and wellbeing. Support could come in the form of:
Structure and consistency and opportunities for social engagement
Emotional support in a safe environment that will help pupils gain the confidence to learn
The promotion of health through the curriculum and in the way the school is managed both in its culture and ethos
Influencing the quality of the meals served within the canteen and provide healthier options for pupils through tuck shops or vending machines
Healthy living topic
By focusing on the Eco-Schools healthy living topic students should be able to:
Focus on the health benefits of a better lifestyle
Understand how a healthy lifestyle can produce long-term benefits
Understand how an ecological life style, i.e. one that produces less pollution, can benefit the global health of the human race in the future
Be confident and feel happy about confidentially contacting a professional for help as and when needed
Linking healthy living into the curriculum
Eco-Schools England have developed a series of lesson ideas designed to inspire you on your journey to embedding sustainable issues into everyday lessons. We have primary and secondary ideas that will encourage your students to solve real-life problems and present their solutions in a variety of ways.
Many of these lesson ideas cover the healthy living topic as well as link into a range of curriculum areas. Visit our Eco-Schools Free Resources section to find out more and to download these lesson ideas.
Other resources and sources of information
If you are interested in growing your own vegetables, herbs or fruits in your school grounds, Eco-Schools have created a series of downloadable how-to guides, including how to garden in a limited space, how to garden organically and a whole range of guides to growing fruits and vegetables.
Our wider links section highlights how Eco-Schools dovetails with Healthy Schools and Every Child Matters, embodying the principles of caring for oneself, caring for others and caring for the environment. You can also visit our useful links page for details of a range of organisations that can offer your school help on healthy lifestyle issues.
See how other Eco-Schools have successfully addressed the healthy living topic
Covingham Park Primary have introduced a "five minute walk zone" to help create safer, smarter journeys to and from school. Their new slogan is "Park and walk, take time to talk."
Oakley developed their school grounds to provide a meaningful, relevant and exciting outdoor environment to practice and develop real life communication skills, practical hands on learning opportunities and a personalised understanding of the environment and sustainability issues
Kedington Primary transformed their school grounds by establishing a large wildlife area, as well as raised beds and a greenhouse for the Gardening Club to grow fruit and vegetables in. They were determined to provide as many vegetables as possible for the school kitchen
Or visit our case studies section for even more ideas and inspiration from other Eco-Schools
National Awareness Days and Campaigns
There are many National Awareness Days, events and campaigns that tie in with the Eco-Schools healthy living topic. Why not use them as a way to introduce healthy living issues or projects to your classes and get your students really interested and involved with them. Click on the titles to find out more.
You can get all the environmental awareness dates for the coming academic year, as well as dates for Eco-Schools and Pod events by downloading the 2012-2013 Year Planner.